Definition of kindness
kindness: noun kind·ness \ˈkīn(d)-nəs\
1: the quality or state of being kind treating people with kindness and respect
Why is it so hard to treat people with kindness and respect? As humans, we are self-centered beings that believe the universe really does revolve around us and our lives. You may be saying, ‘not me!…I always put others first!’. But do you? Think to your worst day, and remember that you may have been unkind to someone for no fault of their own. They just happened to cross your path.
And Everyone has their own Path.
I feel I need to trademark this statement as I have said it countless times over the last three years. My friends are sick of hearing it, but it’s true. We all travel on different paths for different reasons. Each day brings a new path and sometimes the world detours us in a direction that send us spinning onto another path.
December 2013 through May 2015 were 18 months of hell for me. (Sorry mom for the cuss word but you remember that time and thank you for helping me get through it all.) During that time, we moved to Ellerslie, GA due to a transfer in my husband’s company; my two favorite uncles passed away – each one in an instant with a heart-attack less than 12 months apart; and my biological father passed away forcing us to travel to Nebraska. I hated living in south Georgia for a multitude of reasons. The closest grocery store was a 26 mile drive and the nearest gas station closed at 7pm. I hated the landscape, the schools, the weather, the food, and mostly the people. Why did I hate the people? They had done nothing to me. In fact, I made a point to not make any friends because I knew I would leave as soon as possible. The reality is that they probably hated me.
While out shopping one day, I looked at the people around me: strangers out shopping for groceries dressed in pajamas; people driving like crazy in vehicles that look like they are about to fall apart; and rude cashiers. What was there problem? Can they not get up and get dressed to go out? Can they not get a car that has a decent paint job? Why can’t the cashier greet me with a smile and a warm welcoming greeting?
Then it dawned on me…….maybe their path is different than mine. As silly as this sounds, it was profound to me that day. Maybe they are depressed and don’t want to get dressed properly for the day. Maybe they can’t afford to fix their car. And maybe the cashier missed her kids school performance because she was waiting on ungrateful customers like me in order to pay her bills.
This is not about privilege of any kind. Not at all. This is about what each and every one of us goes through each day. Our struggles and our joys. No matter your financial status, race or ethnicity, this is about our paths. And remember….everyone has one.
But our paths can change. And I’m trying to change mine for the better. I’m trying very hard each day to be a better person and stay away from negativity. I want to be the good in the world. I really, really do. But then I get on social media and my attitude changes. Lord have mercy there are some nasty people out there! I can’t imagine the path they travel and certainly wouldn’t want to drive with them!
So I made a decision the other day…..
Rather than just talk about putting kindness out in the world, I’ve joined a group in the area that actually places kindness around for people to find. The Carroll County MD Kindness Rocks Facebook group is all about spreading kindness. It’s the simplest idea but so brilliant….paint a rock, then place it somewhere around town for someone to find. They can either keep the rock or place it in a new location. The person that finds the rock may need a little kindness in their day and just imagine the impact it could make! This idea is not original to this group. This type of thing is growing all over the country and it’s something for everyone….not limited to age or ability. We are planning a rock painting day soon so be on the lookout for more painted rocks around the area. If you find one, I hope it makes your path a little brighter.
Sending lots of love and kindness to you my friends….